Chapter 4: Blackout

Chapter 4: Blackout

A Chapter by Talia M.
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Avian makes a startling discovery in the pantry...

"

Frank walked slowly to the end of the hall where it met a wider corridor in a T shape, Avian and Jo following closely behind. As the group approached the junction, Avian quickly reloaded his pistol, just in case. His hands shook slightly as he slid bullets into his gun, and his skin looked paler than usual, but he just ignored it.


“Think it’s another monster?” whispered Jo, her voice quivering slightly in fear.


Avian frowned. “I’m not sure. Doesn’t quite sound the same.” 


The captain leaned around the corner, scanning the corridor for the source of the sound. The banging sounded like it was coming from the other side of a blast door on the opposite wall. Accompanying the banging was another, fainter, noise. A woman’s voice. “Please…help... someone help me…!” cried the voice.


As soon as he heard the woman, Avian leaped forward and rushed to the door, ignoring his steadily growing sense of fatigue. It seemed to be sealed, similarly to how the doors on the bridge had automatically locked after the first monster attack. So, unsure if he had any other options, he tried the only thing he could think of. “System, override auto-lock!” he shouted. To his dismay, the door didn’t budge. He glanced around frantically, the woman’s voice still quietly pleading for help. His gaze landed on a small control panel beside the door. Not hesitating for a moment, he pulled out his security key. “Let’s see if this works,” he muttered, and scanned it on the panel. 


An ominous silence came from the other side of the door. Then the keycard was accepted with a happy-sounding beep. The bolts unlocked with a loud clang and the door hissed open. The woman had obviously been leaning against the door because when it slid open, she toppled forward, startling Avian. He didn’t regain his senses quickly enough to react, so the woman fell with a thud, her head hitting the floor hard. Unconscious on the floor, she looked almost girlish. Blood trickled through her dirty blonde hair and pooled beside her cheek.


Falling to his knees beside her, Avian pressed his hand against the wound on her head to stop the bleeding. Jo ran up and knelt down beside the captain, Frank peering into the dark room.


“Miss Grayson?” said Jo in surprise.


“You know her?” asked Avian, looking over at her.


Jo nodded. “Yeah, her name is Anna Grayson. She works in the kitchen.”


Anna moaned quietly, remaining unconscious. A large bruise was beginning to form on the side of her head, but the bleeding had stopped. Avian sighed in relief. “I think she’ll be okay. She should wake up in a few minutes.”


“Hey, Jo, got a flashlight?” asked Frank, his eyes still fixed on the dark room. The loud, metallic whirring of fans came from within, but otherwise, it was eerily silent.


Jo nodded and unhooked a flashlight from her belt, handing it absently to Frank.


“Thanks.” He switched it on and shone it around inside the room. From Avian’s angle, it appeared to be some sort of pantry. Turning back around and kneeling on the other side of Anna, he shook her gently. “Hey, Grayson, can you tell us what happened?”


“There’s… something… in there,” she replied groggily. Her voice was barely audible, as she was still only half awake. “Some kind of… animal…”


Frank immediately stood back up again. “Probably a monster. I’ll go check it out.” Without another word, he stepped cautiously into the pantry.


The captain started to get up, intending to follow Frank, but a wave of dizziness sent him right back down again. Once his vision cleared, he glanced at his arm. He had almost forgotten about it, as it had gone almost completely numb. The makeshift bandage he had wrapped around his forearm obviously hadn’t worked. It was completely soaked through with blood, as well as the sleeve of his coat, and a steady trickle of blood rolled down the back of his hand. “Oh, wonderful,” he muttered in annoyance.


Jo turned at his quiet complaint and her gaze immediately landed on his arm. “Avian, you’re bleeding!” she exclaimed.


“It’s nothing,” he lied. “Worry about Miss Grayson.”


Just as he finished speaking, Anna’s eyes fluttered open. She tried to push herself up into a sitting position, but appearing to be dizzy, she laid back down again. Her gaze slowly drifted over to Jo and her eyes widened. “Myra…”


“Oh, good, you’re awake.” A relieved smile spread across Jo’s face. “We need to get you to the infirmary.”


“Wait… where’s Jack? Is he okay?”


Jo shrugged. “Haven’t seen any Jack. Frank is checking in there, so he’ll probably find him. Don’t worry. But we can continue this later. Think you can stand up?” She gave Anna her hand, and helped her slowly rise to her feet. Avian likewise got to his feet, despite the world spinning around him. “Should we wait for Frank?” asked Jo, glancing at Avian.


The captain shook his head. “With Anna’s condition, we should probably just go. Give ‘im a shout before we go, though, so he knows where to find us.”


“Yeah, you’re right,” Jo nodded. Her loud clear voice echoed down the hallway as she shouted out to Frank to meet them at the infirmary. Then she took Anna’s arm over her shoulder. “Okay, let’s go. Let me know if either of you starts getting dizzy or we need to slow down. Ok?”


Avian and Anna both nodded, and Jo began leading them towards the infirmary. As they walked, Avian’s mind wandered back to the events of the day. It felt like it had been so long since he first walked out of his cabin that morning, and yet it also felt like no time had passed at all. How long had it been? A few hours? A whole day? His entire concept of time had seemed to have gone completely down the drain. Or maybe that was just because he couldn’t think straight at that moment. He was starting to feel dizzy. The world was spinning around him like he was standing in the center of a metal tornado, making him trip and stumble as he followed behind Jo and Anna.


After a while of walking, he paused in his steps as he teetered sideways and slumped against the wall. Jo didn’t notice at first, so he called out, his voice quiet and much weaker than usual, “Jo… hold up a sec. I just… need a moment.”


The young woman turns, her face full of concern as she glances at Avian. “Sure thing, Mr. Frisk,” she said. He could clearly hear the worry in her voice. “Take your time.”


While Jo was checking up on Anna, making sure she’s doing okay, Avian leaned heavily against the wall. His whole body felt like it was shaking. Just a bit further, he told himself. Just hold out a little longer. After a moment of regaining his bearings, he stood up straight again. He didn’t realize it at that moment, but all the color had drained from his face, making him so pale he looked like a ghost. “I’m alright now. Let’s keep moving.”


Jo looked back again and just stared at him for a moment. Her brow furrowed slightly as if she was thinking. Then she turned back to Anna. “Hey, um, Anna… Do you think you could walk on your own for a bit?”


Avian frowned in confusion as Anna nodded. “Why would she have to walk on her own?”


Jo smiled and gave an encouraging pet to Anna’s shoulder, not answering Avian’s question. She walked up to the captain and proceeded to just awkwardly stand there. In front of him. Hesitating. Then, with a shrug and an apologetic smile, she grabbed the captain’s uninjured arm and pulled it over her shoulder, maintaining a good solid grip on his wrist.


“Captain, um…” she said hesitantly. “We really need to get to the infirmary quickly, as you said earlier. And, uh, frankly you’re slowing us down. So I’m uh...just following your orders...” She had been avoiding eye contact with Avian but then she looked him dead in the eye, her face worried but determined. “...Sir.”


Avian was completely taken by surprise. She’d never spoken to him like that before. But when Jo made eye contact, he didn’t resist. He’d known enough women to know how stubborn they could be. It wasn’t worth protesting. So he simply nodded. “Right...good...okay...”


The three of them continued on through the maze of abandoned hallways. The ship seemed more hollow than ever before, and the halls were almost eerie, lit only by the dim, red emergency lighting. The only sounds were their footsteps and the occasional muffled sound in the distance breaking up the steady hum of the ship’s engines and ventilation. 


The quiet gave Avian plenty of time to think about his predicament. He hated everything about what was happening to him. Having to be helped like that made him feel vulnerable and weak. But after Jo had insisted, he was forced to accept that he was not fine, no matter how many times he told himself and her that he was. His bloody arm hung limply at his side. His breath came in short gasps. And it took all his willpower just to stay awake. All this from a scratch on the arm.


When they were finally in view of the doors to the infirmary, he could have jumped for joy. If he had the energy, that is. He was really quite out of it, by that point. Beside him, Jo let out a sigh of relief. “Ah, finally. We made it.”


However, as they approached the doors, Avian noticed something off. The door hangs on its hinges mangled, slightly open. A trail of splatter leads away from the room. Jo, having noticed it as well, slows almost to a stop.


“Do you think a monster is in there?” she whispered worriedly.


Anna turned around abruptly, her eyes full of alarm. “Did you say ‘monster’?”


Jo nodded. “Yeah. I’m assuming that’s what attacked you and your friend back there.”


“And one of them did this to me,” said Avian, holding up his blood-soaked arm. 


Anna gulped. “Should we risk going in there? If there could be a monster?”


Jo paused for a moment, seemingly weighing their options. “We need the supplies. I’m willing to risk it.” She stepped forward tentatively, her hand tightening around Avian’s wrist as she tensed up, and slowly pushed on the door. “Hello? Anyone in here? Doctor Steiner?”


The infirmary was simple and small, as expected on a cargo vessel. Definitely cost efficient. It was normally kept very tidy. But as they peered into the room, Avian saw that now it was messy. Supplies littered the floor around a toppled tool tray, some of the chairs were laying on their side, and drawers were left open. Then he noticed a man dressed in a security guard uniform sitting in a chair on the other side of the room, wrapping his hand with bandages. The man glanced up at the sound of Jo’s voice and leaped to his feet. “Oh! Someone else who’s alive!” he said excitedly. “Are you alright, miss?”


Surprised, it took a few moments for Jo to reply. “Oh, yes, I’m fine. But I’ve got a couple people here who need some help.”


“Sure, let me help you with him.” The man stepped forward, ushering Anna to come inside, and took Avian’s other arm over his shoulder. “My name is George, by the way. George Crabtree,” he said as the two of them led the captain to an operating table where, with some help, Avian hoisted himself up.


“First things first,” said Avian as he settled into a sitting position on the edge of the table, his voice tired. “We need to stop this bleeding. I think that’s my problem more than anything, right now.” He slowly unwrapped the makeshift bandage from around his arm, wincing slightly. Then he slid his coat off, revealing the deep claw marks in his flesh that were still steadily oozing blood. George’s eyes widened at the sight of the wound.


“Wow, that looks like one nasty cut! What happened to you?”


Avian shrugged, trying to hold back the bile that was threatening to rise up his throat as he stared at his bloody, torn-up arm. It barely even looked like his own arm anymore, now that it was stained red and ripped to shreds. “Had a bit of a scrap with a freaky monster,” he replied.


Somehow, George’s eyes got even wider, now sparkling a bit with excitement. “A monster? Like, giant, man-eating, sharp-toothed monster?”


Avian chuckled weakly, grateful that at least someone could keep a positive attitude through all of this. “Nah, more like, creepy, sharp-clawed, almost human-like monster.” He reached over to a nearby table and grabbed a cloth as he spoke. He pressed it firmly against the wound, hissing in a breath at the sharp stab of pain before turning back to the security guard. “Yeah, they’re pretty nasty creatures. One of them…” His voice caught in his throat and he closed his eyes for a moment to compose himself before speaking again. “One of them killed the former captain.”


The glisten in George’s eyes instantly disappeared. “T-The captain?”


“Yup. It’s been a… rough morning.” As Avian spoke, he started to feel something odd. Everything began sounding further away. His head spun, even though he wasn’t standing.


The security guard’s face hardened into a frown and he pounded his fist into his palm. “Well, sir, I say we go to the armory and grab a couple rifles. Fry the b******s for killing our captain.” His voice sounded weird to Avian, as if they were talking underwater.


“Yeah… sure… I just…” He paused mid-sentence, his head swimming. No matter how much pressure he put on his arm, the blood just kept pouring out of the wound. And it was obviously taking its toll on the young man. He tried to breathe, but his lungs didn’t want to work, so he only managed small gasps. His eyes drifted in and out of focus. He could faintly hear George saying something to him, but he didn’t much care to listen to what it was. “I… I think I’m…” Before he could finish, his eyes rolled back in his head and he slumped to the side.


Before he slipped into unconsciousness, he heard George shout, “Sir, watch your head! Miss, come over here!” From the other side of the room, he heard Jo curse and hurry to his side. Jo’s voice called his name repeatedly, but he couldn’t respond. 


His senses faded to nothing as he was swallowed by the darkness.



© 2019 Talia M.


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Added on August 14, 2019
Last Updated on August 14, 2019
Tags: sci-fi, space, cargo ship, spaceship, monsters, adventure, future, space monster, shadows, shadow of hell, hell


Author

Talia M.
Talia M.

PA



About
Hello! I'm Talia and I am 16 years old. I write almost every day. It's one of my main hobbies, aside from drawing. I'll get a spark of inspiration from one of my vivid dreams or something I see on Pin.. more..

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